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How to mod Grand Theft Auto 3 for iPhone and iPad without a jailbreak
Drive the Batmobile in GTA 3, and other hacks
Product: Grand Theft Auto 3: 10th Anniversary Edition | Developer: Rockstar Games | Publisher: Rockstar Games | Genre: Action
Grand Theft Auto 3: 10th Anniversary Edition Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Wily tinkerers have recently figured out how to hack Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto 3, letting you install mods into this 10th Anniversary remake.

Because the iOS adaptation is a port of the crime sim's PC edition, you can install pretty much any modification from the web.

This lets you play as Ronald McDonald, turn the Cheetah sports car into a Porsche Carrera, swap out guns, and replace buildings.

To show you how it's done, we're going to turn the stuffy old Idaho saloon car into a jet black 1989 Batmobile on our non-jailbroken iPad 2. Follow along, and you'll have all you need to know to tweak Grand Theft Auto 3 to your heart's content.

First up, we need to choose our mod. There are lots of websites out there where you can find downloadable packages for Grand Theft Auto 3, but we recommend starting out with GameFront, The GTA Place, GTAinside, and Planet Grand Theft Auto.

Like we said, we're going to put the Batmobile in Liberty City. This one, made by "J@Ke", replaces the Idaho. It also lets you fire rockets if you really tweak the game, though for the sake of simplicity, we'll stick to a model and texture swap for now.

Download the files (in this case, they're called "idaho.dff" and "idaho.txd"), and store them somewhere safe.

Now, we need a program called iExplorer (available on Windows and Mac). This lets you fiddle with (some of) the files on your iPhone or iPad, even if you haven't jailbroken your gadget.

Just in case it wasn't obvious, we take no responsibility for the messing up of your device during this process.

Plug in your device and load iExplorer. Choose the iOS device with the Grand Theft Auto 3 app installed on it and open the following folders: 'Apps' > 'gta 3' > 'gta3.app'.

In this folder, you'll find all the files for the game, but the ones we're looking for are "gta3_pvr.dir" and "gta3_pvr.img", which hold a complete record of all the models in the game and their textures. This is what we want to edit.

Copy them onto your hard drive (by dragging and dropping them into Windows Explorer / Finder). Just to be safe, make a backup (by copy and pasting them, and giving them a name like "gta3-backup.img").

Finally, delete the originals off of your iOS device by clicking the delete button in iExplorer).

Now download IMG Tool (Windows only, though runs fine on Mac with handy emulator Crossover), which is a bespoke program for fiddling with Grand Theft Auto 3's files.

Click 'file', then 'load', then choose the "gta3_pvr.img" that we copied off of our iOS device in the last step. Give it a second - the few-thousand models and textures that make up Liberty City will eventually appear in a big list.

Find the car you want to replace (in our case, it's the Idaho, so let's hit 'edit', then find and type 'Idaho' to whizz down the list), and you'll find "idaho.dff" and "idaho.txd". Select them and delete them.

Now, click 'commands', then add and find the "idaho.dff" and "idaho.txd" of the Batmobile that we downloaded in the first step. This will plop them in the list.

Finally, click 'commands' and 'Rebuild Archive' to finish up.

Time to put our modified files back onto our iOS gizmo. Plug it back in, open iExplorer, and navigate back to the "gta3.app" folder from Step 2.

Drag your new "gta3_pvr.dir" and "gta3_pvr.img" files into this folder.

This might take a little while, especially if your device is chock-full of apps and music, so give it a chance to do its work.

And we're done. Quit iExplore, unplug your iOS device, and slide to unlock.

Load up the app. If you did everything right, you should find the game loading up perfectly without any crashes or performance hits.

Now, we just need to find the car we replaced. The Idaho is a pretty typical vehicle, so just drive around and find it. If all goes well, you should see a Batmobile coming over the horizon!

It's got some slight strangeness to its mesh, but that's to be expected when putting a PC mod on an iPhone. Some mods will work better than others.

You can try other things if you're feeling brave. Weapon mods, building swaps, cheats, and hacks. Not everything is going to work, but as long as you've got your backup, you'll be fine.

If something goes wrong, just rename the backup files to their old name and drop them into iExplorer.


Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 4 January 2012
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Jan 2014
Post count:
Xayaan Wahyd | 18:33 - 13 January 2014
Try using ifunbox, it will work, guaranteed
Oct 2013
Post count:
@lauwag | 20:39 - 28 October 2013
@Bob Gaben:

My problem,too.
Sep 2013
Post count:
Aaron Carey | 17:15 - 9 October 2013
I remember when I was hacking RR3 I had to change the file permissions on a few things to get stuff to work... it's probably the same problem for the other commenters.
Oct 2013
Post count:
Bob Gaben | 12:44 - 9 October 2013
i cant mod it iexplorer wont let me delete the unmodded gta 3 or replace it im on IOS 7 ipad 2 wifi any tutorials on how to remove the file protection
May 2013
Post count:
Joshua Yoshi | 21:01 - 26 May 2013
you have to change the idaho.dff.dff and rename it idaho.dff it works i did it
Oct 2012
Post count:
De Mist | 00:04 - 13 January 2013
Can some one put a edited gta3_pvr.dir and gta3_pvr.img up plase because I keep getting error's on IMGTool. can some one please post them...
Sep 2012
Post count:
emofish | 14:07 - 8 September 2012
Hi I did all the steps right and when I open gta 3 on iPad and I start loading a new game it freezes with about 1 quarter of the load to go can u please help me
Jul 2012
Post count:
1thatlilkid | 00:08 - 10 July 2012
I Replaced the the stallion and everything with a lamborgini but the app crashes everything worked but idk what to do and i restarted ipad what do i do ...?
Jul 2012
Post count:
coernia | 23:43 - 5 July 2012
do the mods have to be used for Gta3? can i use mods from gta 4 ??? HELP
Jun 2012
Post count:
AMGPublicEnemy | 20:24 - 20 June 2012
um... the blank post was an accident, you can delete that one and this one.

Also, where I wrote, "I'm still SUCK with the Idaho," I meant "I'm still STUCK with the Idaho."
JOIN THE DISCUSSION: 24 comments >>